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India to send three-person crew on landmark space mission

India will send a three-member team into orbit for up to a week when it launches its first manned space mission expected in 2022, the government announced Friday. Indian ministers approved $1.4 billion to provide technology and infrastructure for the programme, according to a government statement. The sum would make India's one of the cheapest manned space programmes, stepping up its space rivalry with China. But the statement said India also hopes to take part in "global" space projects. India will become the…

Work in space does not seem to shorten astronauts’ lives

Although space travel exposes astronauts to forms of radiation that are uncommon on Earth, and that are linked to cancers and heart problems, a US study suggests this doesn’t significantly shorten their lives. Researchers compared nearly 60 years of data on U.S. male astronauts and a group of men who are similarly extra-fit, affluent and receive elite healthcare - pro athletes. They found that neither group has higher rates than the other of death overall or of early deaths. Both groups do tend to outlast the rest of us,…

Astronauts return safely to Earth from Space Station

Three members of the International Space Station’s crew returned safely to Earth on Thursday, landing in Kazakhstan on a Russian Soyuz craft, NASA reported. It was the first return from the space station since October, when U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin landed unharmed on the Kazakh steppe after their rocket bound for the station failed two minutes after liftoff. NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor landed along with her German crewmate Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency…

Virgin Galactic reaches space for first time

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, VSS Unity, flew higher than it ever has before on Thursday, surpassing what the US Air Force considers the boundary of space, and marking the first manned flight to space from US soil since 2011. The brief, suborbital flight -- with two pilots on board -- was a key milestone for the company headed by British tycoon Richard Branson, who is striving to send tourists to space at a cost of $250,000 per seat. No spacecraft with people on board has taken off from US soil since the American…

South Korea successfully tests space rocket engine

SEOUL: South Korea on Wednesday (Nov 28) successfully conducted a rocket engine test launch, officials said, paving the way for the development of its own space launch vehicle. Video footage showed the single-stage rocket, propelled by a liquid fuel engine, lift off from the Naro Space Centre on the southern coast and surge into the sky, trailing yellow and blue flames. “The test vehicle was successfully launched,” Vice Science Minister Lee Jin-gyu told journalists, adding collected flight data showed the engine was…

Mars InSight spacecraft lands on Red Planet

PASADENA, United States: Cheers and applause erupted at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Monday as a waist-high unmanned lander, called InSight, touched down on Mars, capping a nearly seven-year journey from design to launch to landing. The dramatic arrival of the $993 million spacecraft -- designed to listen for quakes and tremors as a way to unveil the Red Planet's inner mysteries, how it formed billions of years ago and, by extension, how other rocky planets like Earth took shape -- marked the eighth successful…

Space crew survives plunge to Earth after Russian rocket fails

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan: The two-man U.S.-Russian crew of a Soyuz spacecraft en route to the International Space Station survived a dramatic emergency landing in Kazakhstan on Thursday when their rocket failed in mid-air. U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin landed safely without harm and rescue crews who raced to locate them on the Kazakh steppe quickly linked up with them, NASA, the U.S. space agency, and Russia’s Roscosmos said. The emergency occurred as the first and second stages…

Japan space tourist says moon training ‘shouldn’t be too hard’

Billionaire Japanese tycoon and future space tourist Yusaku Maezawa's training to go the moon should not be too tricky, he joked Tuesday, adding that he planned to use free time from his six-hour work day to squeeze it in. The 42-year-old Maezawa paid an undisclosed sum for a ticket on fellow tycoon Elon Musk's SpaceX rocket around the moon as early as 2023 and the passionate art collector also plans to take around half a dozen artists with him on the trip. "It hasn't been decided yet what training I will need to…

NASA space lasers to reveal new depths of planet’s ice loss

NASA is poised to launch Saturday its most advanced space laser ever, ICESat-2, a $1 billion dollar mission to reveal the depths of the Earth's melting ice as the climate warms. The half-ton satellite, about the size of a smart-car, is scheduled to blast off atop a Delta II rocket on September 15 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The 40-minute launch window opens at 5:46 am local time (1246 GMT). The mission is "exceptionally important for science," Richard Slonaker, ICESat-2 program executive at NASA,…